Self-publishing your book can seem a huge mountain to climb. Some people are natural mountain climbers. They’re self-motivated, well organised and efficient – and when they say they’re going to get their book published by Christmas, you wouldn’t bet against them.
More often, writers start off full of energy and good intentions, but run out of steam and give up. Here are some ideas to you get to the summit.
It’s natural to want your book to look as good as it possibly can be – no typos, typeset beautifully, with a professional looking cover. But there’s something to be said for getting a draft proof.
Totally abandon perfectionism. Get the words down on the page – all the right words, but not necessarily in the right order. Any kind of cover will do. Just choose a background colour, put the title and your name on it, and bam! it’s a cover. Order a proof copy. There. You’ve done it. You’re holding your own book in your hands.
So what are the advantages of doing this?
1) You’ll learn how it needs to be set up – typesetting the manuscript, designing a cover, no matter how rudimentary, going through the ordering process. But knowing it doesn’t have to be perfect you don’t need to worry too much and delay things – you can always make further changes.
2) You’ll see the basic size of it. How does it look? Does it need to be cut down, added to, or is it just right? Viewing the book in this format also detaches you from your own writing, making it much easier to edit.
3) Having your book in something approaching its final state makes it more official. You’re really doing this. And it can spur you on to getting your ‘perfect’ proof copy. Of course, you’ll probably need to make a few tweaks to that too…
Design the Cover First
Have you ever thought about designing your cover first? In this article from Debbie Young, she discusses when the right time to make your cover might be.
When you upload your manuscript to CompletelyNovel, the amount of pages will determine the exact size of your book, as more pages means a larger spine. But even before you have a final draft, you could design a front cover at least, for marketing and publicity purposes. It’s another way of making your book feel more ‘real’ – a product that you will be able to sell, a book that people will be able to order and read. And when it feels more ‘real’, it’s harder to give up before you get to the finish line, especially when you’ve got potential readers already interested.
Write Something Else
You’ve been working on something for years. You know it has the potential to be great – and you want it to be your masterwork. Still you have doubts about it. You still don’t feel ready to send sample chapters to agents, let alone self-publish it. How can you move forward?
Abandon it. Put it aside and write something different. Write something you know is going to be quick and easy. A ‘How to’ guide. A short children’s book. A collection of limericks or a family history. Then publish it yourself – perhaps to sell, or even just as a gift for friends and relations. Writing it might lead you onto a totally different writing path – sparking off new ideas or opportunities. Or it might just give you renewed vigour to return to your original book project.
Book The Launch Party
You can start marketing the book before it’s finished – but there’s the danger that you’ll be too woolly about it. "Coming soon’ or ‘Out in the Spring’ are all too often seen on writers’ blogs. Which Spring? How soon?
Nothing says commitment to a book’s publication than a launch party. The potential embarrassment of having to cancel will be a great incentive to get your book published on time.
So think about an appropriate date, giving yourself enough time for getting everything ready for publication, printing proof copies and copies for reviewers/for selling directly. Then give yourself a little extra time for wriggle room (everything always takes a bit longer than you imagine). Book the venue, send out invitations, and get going!
We hope this has given you a few ideas – but do let us know any tips or tricks you use yourself!